How can I maximize my home’s potential to be a productivity center?
In many homes today, entertainment is the top priority. This is unfortunate, because a focus on entertainment greatly diminishes the potential for productivity in the home. While rest and refreshment are certainly important aspects of life, we need to carefully consider how we spend our discretionary time.
Take Time to Create
People are meant to create—to use their intelligence and skills to work with their hands and make new things. The options of creative outlets are as varied as the points of interest among your family members: gardening, building, painting, needlework, music, baking, cooking, sewing, scientific experimentation, and more. These hobbies offer opportunities to develop valuable character qualities and skills that will enhance your quality of life, and they also can be a means of serving and encouraging others.
Search out meaningful, purposeful activities for your family to enjoy. Consider the natural talents of your children and provide opportunities for them to explore their fields of interest. If you personally know any experts in those fields, invite them over for dinner to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with your family, or make arrangements for your son or daughter to visit a person who works in a particular area of interest and interview him or her about that job or hobby or ministry. Buy craft supplies, basic hardware items, and how-to kits. You’ll find that using your imaginations and developing new skills brings much more joy and fulfillment than spending all your free time in self-focused entertainment.
Meet the Needs of Others
As you develop skills and products in your home, consider how you can use them to serve your family, friends, church, and community. Pay attention to the needs around you, and find opportunities to invest your time and energy in worthwhile ventures.
For example, if your family learns about the advantages of baking your own bread, using freshly ground wheat, why not share some of those loaves of bread with unsaved neighbors, along with a handmade card that introduces them to the Bread of Life? If your child learns how to repair the family’s bicycles or lawn mower, encourage him or her to offer repair services to younger children in the neighborhood or elderly friends at your church. Perhaps you can teach a class about your favorite hobby to a local Boy Scout troop or AWANA Club.
There are numerous opportunities to use your interests and skills to serve, delight, and inspire others. As you share your joy, your joy will be multiplied.
Consider Starting a Home Business
Sometimes a home business emerges from a family’s industrious endeavors. Lawn care, home-baked items, crafts, music, home repairs, or other services can often meet needs within the community and provide additional income for the family.
Before starting a home business, do your best to carefully consider all the responsibilities it may require and determine if it is in the best interest of the family to start a home business. If you go forward with the idea, work on keeping your priorities in order. Husbands and wives must be sensitive to a spouse’s cautions and counsel. Children should grow in responsibility and give heed to their parents’ instruction and guidance. Demands related to maintaining your home business can easily end up rearranging your priorities. Be wise and make realistic choices.
Learn From Godly Examples
In Scripture, the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 is an outstanding example of diligence and industry. She faithfully used the resources that were available to her to care for the needs of her family, give to the poor, and invest in wise business ventures. It’s remarkable to hear of all of her accomplishments and of the Godly character she possessed. She is an excellent example of a productive housekeeper who maintained good priorities.
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:27–28).
Love and Care for People
In all that you do, seek to demonstrate love and care for others. With every product or service you provide, be thorough, precise, punctual, and dependable. Teach your children that even the “little things” count, because they touch the lives of others. Seek to be known not only for excellent work, but also for a joyful, excellent attitude and willingness to work with people. Guard your heart so that you can walk in humility, with a teachable spirit. Remember to do everything as if you are doing it unto the Lord. Each task has potential to bring glory to God. (See Colossians 3:23–24, Matthew 25:40, Matthew 10:42, and Hebrews 6:10.)
Cultivate Diligence, Responsibility, and Generosity
As your children learn skills and gain maturity, encourage them to work hard, increase their responsibility, and remain generous toward others. Reward them for jobs well done, and recognize their efforts in “going the second mile.” Praise them for dependability, and help them see opportunities to invest in others for Christ’s sake.
This material is adapted from pages 169–173 of the Men's Manual, Volume II.